READINGS for 2006-02-23
Keep salt in yourselves. ? Mark 9:50
Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Even if serving the poorest of the poor in India meant having to pluck maggots off live bodies, she didn?t shun her mission. She went the extra mile. Martin and Gracia Burnham. Even if discussing their faith with their captors could have meant a surer risk of angering them and the abrupt end to their lives, they didn?t shirk proclaiming the Good News. They went the extra mile.
Pope John Paul II. Even if apologizing to the Jews for the part that the Catholic Church might have played in the holocaust meant humble admittance of a great wrong, he didn?t stop himself from reaching out and striving for unity with other faiths. He went the extra mile.
These are three people that I believe kept salt in themselves. They did not allow their lives to cease making an impact, to stop giving flavor, to forget to season other?s lives with love.
They didn?t sit and watch the world go by. Instead they stood up and took a first step? and didn?t continue walking until they had completed the journey of the extra mile. Imelda B.
May I never forget to make sure I can.
The real question that James is asking of us is, ?Where have we placed our hope?? Have we misplaced it in the things that the world has to offer, like wealth and fame and power or is it residing in our trust that our relationship with Jesus will bring us the fullness of our happiness? It is easier to trust and place our hope in something that we can touch than an article of faith. Let us pray for the grace to entrust our lives into the hands of God.
1 Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. 2 Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, 3 your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. 4 Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.
P S A L M
Psalm 49:14-15, 15-16, 17-18, 19-20
R: Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
13  This is the way of those whose trust is folly, the end of those contented with their lot 14  like sheep they are herded into the netherworld; death is their shepherd, and the upright rule over them. (R) Quickly their form is consumed; the nether world is their palace. 15  But God will redeem me from the power of the nether world by receiving me. (R) 16  Fear not when a man grows rich, when the wealth of his house becomes great, 17  for when he dies, he shall take none of it; his wealth shall not follow him down. (R) 18  Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed, ?They will praise you for doing well for yourself,? 19  he shall join the circle of his forebears who shall never more see light. (R)
G O S P E L
It is one thing to sin of and for ourselves. It is an entirely different matter to be the cause of another?s sin. The second is far worse. Jesus reminds us that we have to be careful regarding the effect we have upon other people?s lives. We must ensure that we are a good influence upon them and not a bad one. In fact, it is better for us to die now than be the cause of another?s sin. This may be a hard thing to grasp but if we think about it long enough, I am sure we will see that it is true.
41 Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. 42 ?Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe [in me] to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.  45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.  47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, 48 where ?their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.? 49 ?Everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.?
God?s special verse/thought for me today_______________________
thank You Lord for: ______________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Deuteronomy 31-34
The price of pandesal is often the gauge of economic inflation. When I was a little boy, a pandesal cost only 25 centavos each. Today, it is at least P2.00. When we were minor seminarians, the quantity and size of pandesal served at the refectory was some sort of an economic forecast. As freshmen, we received two medium-sized pandesal. As sophomores, only one large pandesal. As juniors and seniors, the ration remained one pandesal with its size decreasing steadily to extra small.
Pandesal is not a croissant or doughnut or rye bread, and therefore it is a common feature in a poor man?s breakfast table. As the price of pandesal rises, the poverty of the common man becomes even more evident. The poor man has indeed become poorer. While the rich man enjoys pastries, the poor man has to divide a small pandesal among his starving children.
Pandesal is a combination of the Spanish words ?pan,? ?de,? and ?sal? meaning ?bread of salt? or ?bread from salt? or ?salted bread.? Is salt what makes it taste heavenly? Is it the price of salt that makes the pandesal expensive today? Well, the ?sal? in the ?pan? is important, even indispensable.
Our poor lives may be compared with the pandesal. It is our ?saltiness? that makes us pleasing to the divine palate. Our lives may be poor but we should not lose that which makes us treasures in the hands of the Lord. We may have nothing but if we keep our good flavor, the Lord makes something out of us. In the Lord?s hands we are never worthless, unless we make our selves so by becoming ?tasteless.?
While the First Reading today warns the rich against oppressing and exploiting the poor, the Gospel today warns the poor against accumulating other ingredients in life that makes life distasteful for God. It is better to remain poor in the hands of the Lord rather than become rich in the ways of the world. It is better to be a handicapped made whole by the Lord rather than a capable struck down by the Lord. Otherwise, we will truly be poor. Fr. Bobby T.
On which do I really base by life and self-worth: material wealth or spiritual treasures, physical health or spiritual well-being? If I were a dish for the Lord?s meal, what kind would I be? How would I taste? Why?
Lord Jesus, on You I wish to base my life. It is You whom I wish to be my life. If I have to lose everything, let everything not include You. You are my only treasure. Let me be Your ?pandesal.? Amen.
St. Polycarp, bishop martyr, pray for us.
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